Formula 1: Russia 2019 GP Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I’ve never completely warmed to the Sochi semi-street circuit track. As an armchair spectator at home, the whole thing looks the same to me and I would struggle to recall any specific corners or memorable elements of the track. It’s perhaps fitting then that we’ve not really had any killer races is Russia that are worth remembering. The 2019 edition was no different.

Lewis Hamilton benefitted from the safety car to win his first race after the summer break, finally breaking the red cars’ chokehold. This should have been another Ferrari victory though and I’m sure Mercedes must be just a little concerned now for, without the safety car, either Vettel or Leclerc would have taken the top step of the rostrum without a doubt.

Ferrari’s afternoon was mired by the apparent intra-team politics that were once again kicking off in the background. Vettel had an immense start, surging forth from third on the grid to pass Hamilton and slipstream his Leclerc before passing his teammate and gaining the lead. Initially, it looked like Seb was back, revitalised by his Singapore victory. However, team radio soon revealed a different story and it became clear that there had been some form of pre-race agreement in place that might have helped Vettel gain first place on the road. There was talk of Seb letting Charles by but Vettel was already pulling out a lead and apparently in no mood to comply. Shades of Multi-21?

Whatever the truth behind this mysterious agreement was, it’s not the sort of thing we want to be sitting down to watch at the weekend. To the fans, it looked like Vettel had made an incredible start and put one over on both his big rival in recent years (Hamilton) and the young new upstart from the opposite side of the Ferrari garage. Game on. But then we get all of this crap about agreements and letting other cars by. No thanks. Remember when these sorts of orders were banned in the Schumacher era? I can’t say I fully blame Vettel for holding the lead. After all, there was every possibility that he would have been able to seize it anyway without assistance. He’d certainly already beaten Hamilton and there was nothing to say that he wouldn’t have been able to slipstream Charles and take first place unaided.

 

Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix
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The controversy was ultimately rendered elementary in due course, however. Ferrari swapped the pair back around through pit strategy but before we got to see the teammates go at it tooth and nail, Vettel’s car ground to a halt with a power unit failure. The irony was that Vettel’s breakdown triggered the safety car that allowed Hamilton to steal the lead from Leclerc. Ferrari pitted Leclerc again, allowing Valtteri Bottas to get the other silver arrow into second place, a position he would hold until the flag.

Vettel was still voted Driver of the Day by the fans though – a verdict that I didn’t agree with at all. For me, it was all about Alex Albon in the Red Bull, and his charge through the field to fifth place after starting the race from the pit lane. Albon impressed once again with a series of aggressive yet controlled desperado moves as he battled through the midfield, overhauling two former Red Bull drivers – Kvyat and Gasly – in the process. All of this with brakes that were not working properly. For me, Albon has done enough to show that he should get the Red Bull drive in 2020. His assertive performance in the car in the races following the summer break has already overshadowed anything that Pierre Gasly had done in the season’s first half.

The only big surprise at the Russian GP was that Romain Grosjean was eliminated in a clash on the opening lap…and it wasn’t his fault!

Thankfully, we’re off to a classic venue for the next race – Suzuka.

Bullshit News: Red Bull poster banned

I haven’t posted anything here for around a week (I think) but I’ve been having internet issues that have, quite honestly, left me not feeling up to broadcasting my witty insightful ragged viewpoints if there’s no guarantee that I can get online to publish them. Society’s ability to bamboozle those of us with a common sense approach isn’t hindered by such first-world issues however and so all kinds of “WTF?!?” stories have been flying about and escaping my criticism in the meantime. This one is just a quickie to keep my foot in the blogging door while I work on some “better” stuff.

So, what would you think if you saw the following poster from energy drink giant Red Bull while passing through the London Underground?

rb-1

Clearly it’s just a playful joke but it seems that some people have had a sense of humour malfunction and actually taken time out of their day to complain to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority. Then again, here I am taking time out of my day to talk about people taking time out of their day to complain about something. The irony isn’t lost on me, I can assure you.

Anyway, the ASA banned the advertisement on the grounds that it implied “unauthorised health claims”. To quote the report from BBC News’ website directly:

One person who saw the poster complained to the ASA that the advert implied the caffeinated energy drink had a positive effect on health, improving focus and concentration.

And here we have the magic word! “Implied”. I’m going to (mostly) gloss over the fact that somebody saw a poster on the tube and went to the trouble of contacting the ASA to lodge a complaint. Haven’t people got better things to do? Perhaps I’m the only one who doesn’t really pay any attention to adverts like this beyond the pictures. After all, it’s always some sort of marketing speak or “clever” wording to get at the cash in your wallet and so I don’t tend to give 95% of ads any of my time.

The thing is though, energy drinks DO improve focus and concentration so there’s no lie there. Reading the ingredients and looking at the facts on how the likes of caffeine, taurine and the various other minerals impact on your body/mind shows that these drinks will give you a boost. This boost is only temporary though and drinking the likes of Red Bull in excessive amounts will either reduce the effectiveness of the drinks over a period of time or simply make you ill. None of this has ever been denied and it should be common knowledge.

Nowhere on energy drink cans does it ever state that the contents provide a positive effect for a consumer’s health. As I said, it should be common knowledge that a can loaded up with sugar, caffeine and fuck knows what else cannot be ‘good’ for you in any way and should be consumed in moderation (or better yet, not at all). If you feel that a poster advertisement is all it takes to lead the general populance astray however then I’m (not) sorry but you are an idiot.

Energy drinks – like alcholol, cigarettes, porn, drugs etc. – provide a quick and easy rush that you KNOW is bad for you. I don’t believe that any of these things should be banned or cracked down on because those who use them responsibly and in moderation will pay the price for everybody else’s lack of self control and education. I firmly believe in doing whatever the hell you want (excluding the likes of murder, rape, abuse etc.) but also being aware of and being prepared to face the consequences should you fuck up.

Furthermore, I don’t believe that consumers are as dim-witted and easily brainwashed as as the SJW and their “save people from themselves” mantra would have us believe. What’s actually happening is that millions of people have zero self-discipline or other underlying issues that they avoid by seeking the quick fixes offered by the likes of energy drinks. Rather than turning to a can of Red Bull, you should be questioning why you are tired or unmotivated in the first place and working to solve that problem. Perhaps you don’t get enough sleep or maybe your diet is the cause. The reason may even be that you aren’t happy in your job and need a change.

Not according to the ASA though:

But the ASA ruled against Red Bull, saying that consumers would understand that the poster did imply those health claims, which were not authorised on the EU Register.

Well I’m a consumer and I wouldn’t even entertain the notion of believing that Red Bull is good for my health, especially not by glancing at a fucking poster in a tube station. I hate to use the well-worn terminology here but it really is just Nanny-State hand-holding once again.

That and the word “Implied”. This word along with the likes of “Insinuate”, “Interpreted” and phrases such as “could be seen to…” are the real problem here. Any news item that uses this sort of vocabulary is either trying to turn vague rumblings into a ‘Story’ or is presenting the opinions of random nobodies on Twitter as facts which is a complete journalistic disgrace in my opinion and only worth printing in cheap, trashy rags calling themselves NEWSpapers. You’d get more factual information from the Page 3 girl’s tits than the garbage “news” printed on the other pages. To see such once-respectable sources such as the BBC promoting this crap above REAL news is sad to see.

The final tragic irony? Those who complained to the ASA probably feel vindicated now that the ad has been banned but the only winner here is Red Bull and the free publicity that they gained.